Three New States Legalize Cannabis
Americans in four states had measures on their midterm ballots to legalize cannabis, whether for recreational or medical use. With enough votes in to call the results, Michigan, Utah and Missouri join the 30 states that have legalized cannabis either for medical, recreational or both usages. Specifically, Michigan joins as the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis, and Utah and Missouri join the other 31 states that currently allow medical marijuana. However, the voters of the conservative state of North Dakota did not pass the Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, which would have legalized recreational cannabis and expunged the records of persons convicted of a drug violation where the drug at issue is now legal.
Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative allows the adult-use purchase and possession, and residential cultivation, of marijuana. It also imposes a 10% excise tax at the state level, much of which would be distributed to local governments.
The Utah Medical Cannabis Act legalized medical cannabis for the state’s patients with qualifying illnesses. Some believe that this passage is merely symbolic as the state’s lawmakers have been in the process of creating a different model for providing access to medical marijuana to the state’s patients. At a minimum, the voters’ approval puts pressure on the Utahn lawmakers to act.
The voters of Missouri passed an amendment to the state constitution, making Missouri the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana. Of the three separate medical marijuana initiatives that were on the ballot, Missouri Amendment 2 was passed. With the legalization, sales of medical marijuana will be subject to a 4% tax. It is expected that this tax would generate an annual revenue of $24 million.